Disney Invests $65 Million in Jaunt a Virtual Reality Startup

It seems like only yesterday James Cameron helped bring life back into the world of 3D cinema with his nearly half a billion dollar feature film. In reality the 3D phenomenon, Avatar, was released in 2009 only 6 short years ago. Now another monstrous franchise born in a galaxy far far away from the moon of Pandora has announced it’s plan to advance the film industry yet another lightyear forward. Disney (NYSE:DIS) has recently announced a $65 Million dollar investment in the Palo Alto based Virtual Reality start up, Jaunt.

Jaunt has raised a total of 100 Million from donors in the US as well as China and Europe making them the leading company attempting to mass produce virtual reality head sets as well as advance the world of cinematic virtual reality. They’re over all goal is to “completely change the way we enjoy media” and with Disney as a backer their dreams are virtually becoming a reality.  The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) which owns MARVEL, PIXAR animation studios, and LucasArts would undoubtably attempt to utilize the new technology with features from franchises existing in all three of their largest subsidiaries.

The company has built a strong base for itself by bringing on ex-Lucasfilm veterans to head up the project. Among them are Cliff Plumer, former CTO of Lucasfilm and Industrial Light & Magic, David Anderman, former COO of Lucasfilm, and lastly Miles Perkins joins the team as VP of Marketing Communications, he is yet another Lucasfilm and ILM veteran working for the companies for over 20 years.

However, jumping into the world of true cinema will be a large step for the startup which currently focuses on producing virtual reality video from concerts. Using cameras that shoot with a 360 degree field of vision allows the viewer to truly feel immersed in the energy and musical experience of the concert. The company has stated it plans to invest heavily in the development of their cameras as well as ramping up production. A projected 3 million virtual-reality headsets will be shipped across the globe this year alone. That number is estimated to jump to nearly 30 million by the year 2020.

2020 may seem far off to many of us but that doesn’t mean we will have to wait that long to experience Jaunt content. ABC news recently partnered with Jaunt to create content covering the Syrian crisis. Other Tech giants are planning to throw their headsets into the ring in the coming year, among them are Sony, Google, Samsung and Facebook’s Oculus. In the coming years these companies will race to produce the most immersive and cutting edge content in order to secure their place as the leading producer of not only headsets but the newest innovators in the history of cinema since the advent of color in the 1930’s.

Will we be experiencing virtual reality Podracing by Christmas? Probably not. But with more and more Millions of dollars spilling into the world of virtual reality flying the Millennium Falcon may be a dream that is not far far away.

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